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The number of catalytic converter thefts is increasing

The ADAC road patrol was called out more than 1,000 times in 2022 because of stolen catalytic converters. Older petrol engines are particularly affected.

In Germany, more and more catalytic converters are being stolen from parked cars. This is reported by the ADAC after evaluating the road patrol statistics. According to this, the Yellow Angels had to move out more than 1,000 times in 2022 alone because of stolen Kats. The number has risen sharply since 2018. Four years ago there were just 77 cases, in 2021 there were already 959.

Catalytic converters are of particular interest to thieves because of the precious metals they contain, such as platinum, palladium and rhodium. The stolen cats are recycled and broken down into their raw materials. The precious metals are extracted and sold. According to the ADAC, older petrol models in particular are affected by the theft because the cats can be removed quickly and easily here.

Most often in the Astra, Prius and Polo

Specifically, the thieves are targeting three-way catalytic converters, which were already installed in the exhaust systems of almost all vehicle models at the beginning of the 1990s. Actually, these exhaust components should convert exhaust gas components that are harmful to health and the environment into non-toxic ones. For example, carbon monoxide (CO) is converted into carbon dioxide (CO2) with the help of a catalyst.

Especially in older models, the cats are installed in the middle of the car floor and are therefore easily accessible. In recent years, emission control systems have moved closer and closer to the engine in order to reach working temperature more quickly. According to the ADAC, cars of the type Opel Astra, Toyota Prius and VW Polo were particularly affected by the cat theft.

If the catalytic converter has been removed from the exhaust system, this is initially noticeable with a significantly louder operating noise. Younger car models should then also quickly report the first errors to the driver. The annoying thing: Cars that are affected by the Kat-Klau lose their operating license and are no longer allowed to drive on the road. And replacement in the workshop could be expensive. Affected car owners have to reckon with around 1,000 euros. For some models, it can also be significantly more expensive.


The ADAC reports more and more road patrol operations because of stolen catalytic converters. The thieves want the precious metals they contain. It most often hits older models with petrol engines.


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